More analysis of the strange day on the NYSE prompts this interesting idea for mitigating future problems: no market orders.
But there are other ideas to keeping computerized markets in check. Lawrence E. Harris, a finance professor at the University of Southern California, said regulators should simply require all sellers to specify a minimum price below which they do not want to complete the sale of their shares. Market orders, placed at the best available price, can be too risky in the fast-moving age of electronic trading.I find it hard to believe there won't be some tinkering with the trading systems which will spill over to our world.
On Thursday, some sellers placed orders that were not fulfilled until prices had plunged as low as a penny a share. If sellers had placed “limit orders” instead, those transactions would not have happened, Professor Harris said.“Electronic exchanges in most other countries only accept limit orders,” said Professor Harris, a former S.E.C. chief economist. “Without any mechanisms to stop the market, we just had stocks falling through the ice.”But Rafi Reguer, a spokesman for the electronic exchange Direct Edge, said retail investors liked market orders because limit orders could be rejected, forcing the seller to try again, in some cases at a lower price.“Sometimes what people value is the certainty of execution,” Mr. Reguer said.Experts also note that the value of limit orders can be subverted if investors routinely set unrealistically low limits, to avoid the inconvenience of having their orders rejected. [More]